20 shocking facts about the Kent Hovind case

W
hether you agree with Kent Hovind’s views or not, if you care about justice, I urge you to look into this case.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with Kent Hovind, he is a well-known and controversial speaker on creation, evolution, dinosaurs, as well as so-called “conspiracy theories” like the New World Order.

Nearly 10 years ago, a government SWAT team raided Kent Hovind’s property and he was incarcerated for charges that I believe are false and politically motivated.

Since it has become more clear that he was targeted and railroaded, and because there is so much corruption in this case, they are now trying to silence him for good, by giving him 20-100 years (in addition to the 9 years he has already been in prison) for a new bogus charge.

Please watch this video, then continue reading the latest on this case below. He is going to trial on Monday, and he needs our support and prayers.

From freekenthovind.com:

BREAKDOWN ON WHY PROSECUTORS WANT TO CENSOR KENT HOVIND IN HIS UPCOMING TRIAL:

1 – PROOF: Letters from professionals absolve Kent Hovind from all wrong-doing
2 – PROOF: Judge Margaret Casey Rodgers was caught altering court transcript
3 – PROOF: Judge Margaret Casey Rodgers is anti-christian and bias
4 – PROOF: Judge Margaret Casey Rodgers pre-judged Kent calling him the ‘HEAD OF A CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION’.
5 – PROOF: Sexual deviant, immoral and mentally-ill people imprisoned Kent Hovind
6 – IRS arrest and seize over $19k from widowed senior citizen
7 – IRS caught stealing a quarter of a billion from American people
8 – IRS apologizes for abusing their laws
9 – Congress is furious with the IRS for targeting Christian Americans
10 – New AG Loretta Lynch caught protecting drug money launderers and terrorists

New petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/freekentandpaulnow#discussion

For information on how you can help, please visit: freekenthovind.com and go to the help free Kent page.

The Armor of God – Are you on the battlefield unarmed?

S
everal years ago a funny thing happened to me that I’ll never forget. I got the crazy idea to post on an atheist internet forum, in order to stand for God and Christianity. I wanted to get into some interesting debates and hopefully reach anyone who was on the fence. It didn’t take long to see that the posters there weren’t your everyday, ordinary atheists. They were hardcore, militant, anti-Christian atheists. Many of them seemed to hate Christians, with a passion.

After posting there for about a month, I began to feel incredibly tired and drained. I felt like I was in the middle of a pit of hissing vipers. The atmosphere was dark, angry and bitter. The people there were demoralizing and depressing. I felt like they were sucking the life right out of me.

During those weeks, one day I was driving in a quiet, rural area. I started to pray. I asked God, “Why am I feeling so tired and weak? I feel like I’m completely drained, with no energy. Why?”

As I was praying that, I came to a stop sign, and there was a pickup truck in front of me.

I kid you not, seconds after I asked God that question, I looked right in front of me and saw a white bumper sticker on the back of the truck, with big capital letters that read:

JESUS IS GOD. READ YOUR BIBLE.

The second part of it stood out to me. Read your bible. It took about a second before it registered that I got a clear answer to my prayer.

I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t been reading the bible, for at least a couple weeks. I prayed occasionally, but back then I wasn’t having a daily quiet time with God in prayer and in the Word. So God answered my question right in front of my eyes. Read your bible!

The funny part was, it should’ve been obvious what the problem was. Even though I had faith, I was going into enemy territory almost completely unarmed! Duh! I was still a baby Christian at that time, so cut me some slack. 😉

armor-verse2I was truly amazed at how God answered my sincere prayer so clearly and quickly. It was funny, but more importantly it was a critically important message.

We have to remember to put on the whole armor of God, so we can stand against the schemes of the enemy. We are living in a fallen world, in a society that is in opposition to the true, living God of the universe. If we don’t listen to the clear command to use the spiritual armor that God provides, then we are basically going into battle unarmed, unprepared and unable to stand on our own strength.

Sometimes we forget to put on the armor of God. Or sometimes we do it in a partial way.

Ephesians 6 makes it clear that we must put on the full armor of God, not a partial armor.

For example, if we pray but we’re not reading God’s word, we’re only partially armed. If we have the Gospel, but we don’t have much faith, we don’t have the full armor. It all goes together: truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

Ephesians 6:10-18

If you are going through a difficult time right now… if you’re feeling anxious, sad, frustrated, or just tired and drained, I hope this post will encourage you to let God be your strength! Put on His armor, every morning. Don’t go to the battlefield unclothed and unarmed!

If you have any thoughts or a story you want to share on this topic, please share it below.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

photo credit: dogwatcher via Flickr, cc

Vanity of Vanities (Thoughts + a video)

O
ne of the most intriguing books in the bible is the Book of Ecclesiastes. I put together a little video based on Ecclesiastes, that was inspired by a debate on an internet discussion forum about the ultimate point of life.

There are many people who simply don’t have time to think about things like the meaning of life. They are too busy with everyday responsibilities and just trying to stay afloat. There are other people who hold the secular idea that there is no ultimate meaning, that we create our own meaning and purpose. For many people, achieving success and having the freedom to live the life we choose is the ultimate goal.

It’s certainly true that being able to enjoy the fruit of one’s labor and the pleasures of this world can bring happiness. However, it’s also true that certain people who seem to have it all – celebrities, billionaire heiresses or famous artists – often end up addicted to drugs or sometimes even suicidal. So if the key to life is not success or the temporary pleasures of this world, the big question is, what is?

I like this commentary by J. Stafford Wright, from his article, ‘The Interpretation of Ecclesiastes’

The book is the record of a search for the key to life. It is an endeavor to give a meaning to life, to see it as a whole. And there is no key under the sun. Life has lost the key to itself. Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” If you want the key you must go to the locksmith who made the lock. “God holds the key of all unknown.” And He will not give it to you. Since then you cannot get the key, you must trust the locksmith to open the doors.

This is one of the areas that shows the stark contrast between the atheistic worldview and the biblical worldview.

Wright goes on to say:

The Christian answer is that the universe does make sense. There is a plan and a purpose that has its center and its climax in Christ. We as Christians have been predestinated to be an integral part of that plan. But not even to Christians has it been given to comprehend the plan. Not even a Christian can explain how everything that comes into his life takes its place in the plan. But, none the less, all the time he is trying to catch a glimpse of a certain wholeness that will link together all his individual experiences. But again and again he is driven back to the position of Romans 8:28: “We know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose”; or, if ho theos is read in place of ton theos, “We know that God works all things for good with them that love him.”

The Christian attitude then is one of faith and confidence. The Christian says, “I know that all these things must play their part in God’s total plan. I long to know what the plan is and to see it as a whole, and I shall always go on trying to see it. But in the meantime I will live my life one day at a time, believing that in the common round of life I am doing the will of God. I will be content with what God gives me and take my life from the hand of God.”

eternityThe Book of Ecclesiastes is interpreted in different ways, but one thing is for sure. Our life in this world is short, in the grand scheme of things. The pleasures of this world are temporary. At the time of death, there is no difference between a prince and a pauper – they both die the same way they came into this world, with nothing.

Ecclesiastes ends with the final conclusion – fear God and keep his commandments, that is the duty of mankind. That might sound like bad news to those who don’t know God, but there is good news. The very word “Gospel” means good news. There is a Creator who loves you so much that He was willing to give His life for you. In the same way that an earthly parent would take a bullet for their child, who they love and care about so much. So our hope and salvation is in the One who fulfilled the law perfectly and stood in our place, bridging the gap between God and man.

I believe that all of us have a sense of eternity. That is what Ecclesiastes 3:11 says. However, it’s easy to put our focus on this temporary life. So my prayer is that we all will have a more eternal perspective, and not be sidetracked or discouraged by the things of this world.

Amen! Here’s the video:

Please share your thoughts on the book of Ecclesiastes, or the topic of meaning in general. I look forward to hearing what you have to say!

What I’m Thinking On The Last Day Of A 2-Week Sugar Detox

T
o be clear, I quit refined sugar about 7 weeks ago (for good!) so what I’m talking about here is 2 weeks of no sugar at all, including even fruit and natural sugars.

Why would I do such a crazy thing? I read that in order to completely break a sugar addiction, you have to go without all sugar, including natural sugars, for a period of time. According to JJ Virgin, cutting out all sugar for 2 weeks not only breaks the addiction but it “resets” the tastebuds. So when you re-introduce natural sugar back into your diet, it will taste sweeter than before, and you won’t feel like you need too much of it.

So I’m a few hours away from finishing this challenge, and as I reflect on it, here are some thoughts I want to share.

  1. Challenging yourself is always a good thing. Many people (especially Americans) feel like they’d die if they had to go for a few days without something that they love or rely on, whether it’s coffee, sugar, booze or whatever. No. You won’t die. : )

    In order to grow, I think it’s important to stretch and challenge yourself, and be willing to give up certain things – even if it’s just for a period of time. You just might realize that you didn’t need that thing as much you thought you did.

  2. sugar detox

  3. Variety in foods is a gift from God. On some days, it was difficult to know what to eat, especially for breakfast and lunch, because I was so limited. I was forgoing fruit and trying not to eat anything that turns into sugar.

    It made me appreciate the gift of variety. It’s boring to have the same thing every day, and I believe that God wants us to enjoy the wide variety of natural foods we can eat, including even things like honey.

    My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.

    Proverbs 24:13

    That said, we have to use wisdom and common sense, of course. In the very next chapter of Proverbs, it says that it’s not good to eat too much honey. Again, common sense.

    The reason I’m bringing up this point about variety is because there are people who miss out on certain things, due to having extreme views on food. For example, the “fully raw” vegans who live on nothing but fruits and vegetables, with maybe a few nuts now and then.

    I would get bored having only fruit for breakfast every day, just as it was boring to not have fruit at all for 2 weeks.

  4. If you’re going to do this, be wise about it. Be sure to get enough protein, drink lots of water, and have a good plan or idea on what you’re going to eat for the 2 weeks.
     
    Also, if you’re going to go to parties, where tasty treats will inevitably be offered, be sure to have a full stomach before you go.
  5.  

  6. After getting through these 2 weeks, I feel like I can do just about anything. Supposedly, sugar is more addictive than cocaine. And I was pretty addicted to the stuff (sugar, that is!) So, if I can do this, anyone can, and I feel like with God, I can do anything I set my mind to.

And lastly, I’m looking forward to having a yummy (and healthy) fruit smoothie for breakfast tomorrow!

photo credit: Emily, via Flickr, cc
Linking up with Monday Musings, Busy Monday
habits

The Overlooked Special Power Of Our Habits

Have you ever had an “aha moment” over something that in hindsight seems so simple and obvious? Come on now. I know I can’t be the only one!

Last year I started stumbling upon articles and videos on the topic of habit. The message I kept hearing was, “changing your daily habits changes your life and destiny.” I was inspired to learn more about habits – how they’re formed, how they work and how they can be changed. What I found was both fascinating and encouraging. It was also one of my biggest “Duh!/Aha” moments.

Here are 9 points about habits. To make things easier to remember, I created an acronym: O.U.R. H.A.B.I.T.S.

Ongoing. Habits are ongoing patterns of behavior, acquired through repetition. One of the reasons that habits are ridiculously hard to break is that when a habit is formed, that pattern is literally etched into our brain, establishing a neural pathway.

Underestimated. For many people, the word “habit” brings to mind negative patterns such as smoking, drinking or biting one’s nails. Others think of habits as the mindless things we do everyday.

Habits are often negative or mundane, but there’s more to it than that. As I researched the topic of habits, I learned that there is something very special and powerful about habits that can be leveraged to completely transform our lives.

Instead of thinking of habits in a negative or neutral way, I started thinking of habits as a hidden key or secret weapon, that when used in the right way, empowers us to achieve our highest goals. More on this a little later.

Reprogrammable. Many of us always thought of habits as practically impossible to break or change. Well, we were wrong. You can actually re-program your brain and turn a bad habit into a good one.

Transforming our habits does take time, but the cool thing is, it doesn’t have to take a long time. When you learn how habits work and how to change them, you will begin to see big changes in your life, relatively quickly!

 

habitsHelpful or harmful. Think about it. Just about every decision we make is either worthwhile or a waste of time, helpful or harmful.

Our life is basically the sum total of all our habits, past and present. All the small decisions we make every day add up, and when those decisions become habits, those habits either move us toward our highest potential or hold us back.

The world’s most successful people understand the force of habit. Those people might not be Christians, but this is not just a secular idea, it’s rooted in biblical truth.

The idea that our daily decisions impact our life and destiny is essentially the biblical principle of sowing and reaping. I think that Stephen Covey sums it up perfectly in the quote to your right, from his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Automatic. One of the most interesting things about habit is how it allows the brain to work on auto-pilot. God knew what He was doing when He designed the human mind. Once an action becomes a habit, you don’t have to think about it anymore, which frees up your mental energy to focus on more difficult or meaningful matters.

habit-loopBehavior. According to behavioral researchers, habits follow a simple 3 step pattern or “loop.”

  1. The action starts with a reminder or cue.
  2. The next step is the routine, or the action itself
  3. The final step is the reward. This is the benefit – perceived or real – that the behavior brings.

Instrumental. If you don’t take anything else from this post, just remember this. Our daily habits can be instrumental – in other words, we can use them to our advantage, if we learn to harness the power of habit.

We already learned that we can transform our habits or create new, beneficial habits, and that once a habit is formed, it becomes second-nature. So why not utilize that gift, by being strategic about the habits you form, and letting those habits move you toward your goals and dreams? Those habits will work for you, on auto-pilot, which allows you to concentrate on becoming the person God created you to be, and fulfilling your true calling.

To. Habits can take us to a particular place in our life, figuratively speaking. Habits can take us in all sorts of directions, to health and wealth, sickness and poverty, an amazing and adventurous life, or a life of mediocrity.

And that leads us to the last point, the “S” of Our Habits.

Success There are many important success principles, and it’s essential to have a clearly defined goal or vision. However, all those other things won’t take a person to where they want to be if they never develop the right habits or utilize the power of habit.

In the words of John Maxwell:

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”

It’s the small daily decisions, which turn into good habits, that lead to success.

Some people might be thinking, “That sounds like bad news. I’ll never get to my goal, if it requires millions of small daily decisions.”

The good news is, some of us have been looking at this the wrong way, for years. I too had that “I can’t do this” mindset. I didn’t think I had the self-discipline for all those daily decisions required to do something new and challenging. I’ve realized that once you learn how habits work and how to use the power of habit, you no longer think of it as monumental ordeal, like pushing a boulder up a mountain.

The part that many people overlook is that once a habit is formed, our brain is basically on auto-pilot. Those things that we once thought of as nearly impossible become part of our daily routine, as automatic as putting your shoes on in the morning.

Of course, it takes a certain amount of time before a new habit is formed. So, the difficult part is the beginning. But once you understand how habits work and how the force of habit can be used to your advantage, you have the motivation and energy to get through that difficult first stage. When we get past that, those good habits become like a propeller, that when aligned with your clearly defined vision, will take you to where you want to go! So that difficult phase is worth enduring, because it pays off.

As John Maxwell puts it, we can “play now and pay later, or pay now and play later. Regardless of the choice, one thing is certain. Life will demand a payment.”

To sum this up, here’s the acronym written as a sentence. Our habits are:

Ongoing, underestimated, reprogrammable, helpful or harmful, automatic behavior instrumental to success.

power-of-habit For those interested in learning more, I’m currently reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. You’ve probably heard about it, it spent over 60 weeks on the New York Times and other best-seller lists.

I’m not finished with it yet, but based on what I’ve read so far, definitely get this book. You can do so by clicking on the image to your right.

You’ll learn about how habits work, what drives habits and how they can be changed. Duhigg shares a number of fascinating true stories on how leveraging the power of habit completely transforms lives – not only of individuals, but of teams and big companies as well.

One of the best parts of the book so far is the chapter on keystone habits. Keystone habits are habits that hold more weight, because once developed, they influence numerous other habits, causing a domino effect.

A good example of a keystone habit would be regular exercise. Exercise gives you more energy, which causes you to be more productive, and exercise improves your mental and emotional health, which affects numerous other aspects of your life.

So it’s important to identify your keystone habit. I think that my keystone habit is my daily quiet time with God. Spending that time each morning changed everything. It led to my determination to continually learn and gain wisdom, to develop self-discipline and improve my character. It led to my huge mindset shift on health, which led to new eating habits and regular exercise, something I never did before.

I don’t think it was an accident that I kept “stumbling upon” the message of the transformative power of habit. I think that God orchestrated the whole thing. God has been giving me the grace to go through these changes, and the challenges of developing new habits. So to God be the glory!

How about you? Do you want to use the power of habit to propel yourself to your goals and dreams? If you weren’t already doing this, do you want to be strategic about forming new habits?

Please share which habits, if any, you want to change or start. We can pray for each other. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

photo credit : Kathryn Denman via Flickr cc